Armenian leopards win vote


This video from Armenia says about itself:

Caucasian Leopard in the Caucaus Wildlife Refuge – Daytime

29 August 2013

Camera-trap footage of a Caucasian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), from WLT’s Armenian partner FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets).

Further proof of the leopard‘s presence in the CWR and FPWC’s successful conservation work.

From Wildlife Extra:

Saving Armenia’s leopard wins £25,000 grant

The World Land Trust’s project, Saving Armenia’s Leopard – has won a grant of £25,000 from National Geographic Germany. In an online poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) during the second half of March 2014, more than 52,000 votes were cast for 17 conservation projects all vying for funding.

WLT’s conservation partner in Armenia, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) will use the grant (approximately £25,000) to preserve habitat for the endangered caucasian leopard.

This sub species of leopard is registered as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and has a total population of no more than 1,300. The caucasian leopard’s stronghold is in Iran, where it is known as the Persian Leopard, but in Armenia there may be as few as 15 individuals remaining.

FPWC will use the grant to strengthen existing research and monitoring of this little studied and endangered predator. Funds will also be used to restore degraded mountainsides with a programme to plant 4,000 trees and to develop sustainable tourism initiatives with local communities.

Thanking all supporters, Ruben Khachatryan, FPWC’s founding Director, said: “Community development is a crucial cornerstone in our effort to protect the Caucasian Leopard. In Armenia most villages located in remote mountainous areas suffer from extreme poverty, triggering illegal logging for firewood on steep mountain slopes, over collection of wild edible crops, unsustainable livestock grazing and, of course, poaching. These human activities destroy the habitat of the Caucasian Leopard and many other rare species.

“FPWC’s Rural Eco-tourism programme – as well as the reforestation measures – addresses these problems and we are more than happy that the grant will help us not only to intensify our research and monitoring of the leopard but also to develop new income opportunities for the local population.”

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Lynx caught on camera in Armenia


This video says about itself:

3 Dec 2013

Camera-trap footage of a Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), from WLT’s Armenian partner FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets).

Further proof of FPWC’s successful conservation work.

From Wildlife Extra:

Lynx caught on camera in Caucasus Wildlife Refuge

December 2013: Fleeting footage of a Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) has been recorded in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge in Armenia on a camera-trap funded by World Land Trust (WLT).

The Eurasian Lynx was once quite common in all of Europe but, by the middle of the 19th century, it had disappeared from most countries in Central and Western Europe.

Although registered as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, the sighting is nonetheless significant because numbers of Eurasian Lynx in Armenia have declined, and are now very rarely seen.

The Eurasian Lynx has a short tail, long whiskers on its face, and tufts of black hair on the tips of its ears. Its paws are large and padded, and the legs relatively long, designed for walking through snow. The colouring and markings of its fur varies and can be medium brown, tawny or beige-white, occasionally with dark brown spots.

The Eurasian Lynx lives throughout the mountainous forests of Europe, Russia and Central Asia and is the third largest predator in Europe after the Brown Bear and the Grey Wolf. It is the largest of the lynx species. It is a carnivorous, opportunistic predator, consuming up to two kilograms of meat every day. In the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge the Eurasian Lynx feeds on small mammals such as foxes and rabbits.

The reserve is managed by WLT’s conservation partner in Armenia, the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC).

Caucasian red deer reintroduction in Armenia


This video is called The Caucasian Red Deer.

From Wildlife Extra:

Caucasian Red Deer will be reintroduced in Armenia soon

October 2013. WWF has launched a project to reintroduce the Caucasian Red Deer into Armenia with the aim to set up a breeding group of the species in Dilijan National Park.

The project will include the preparation of a breeding center in Dilijan National Park, the purchase and transportation of 4 male and 11 female deer to Armenia, training of the breeding center staff, keeping and breeding of the animals, and finally release and monitoring in the wild.

“This is an unprecedented project for Armenia as this will be the country’s first reintroduction.” said Karen Manvelyan, the director of WWF Armenia.

Highly Endangered

The Caucasian Red Deer is one of the most endangered wildlife species in the South Caucasus. This species, once largely spread in the forests of Northern, Eastern and Southern Armenia, was disappeared a few decades ago due to poaching and habitat destruction. Now it is considered as a species which accidently enters the territory of Armenia from neighbouring countries.

Currently the Caucasian Red Deer is included in the Red Book of Armenia as “Critically Endangered” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria.

Leopards in Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan


This video is called In the Balance: The Caucasus Leopard.

From Wildlife Extra:

Assessing suitable leopard habitat in Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan

Mapping the Persian leopard habitat connectivity in the Iranian sector of the Caucasus ecoregion

September 2013. Drastic declines in the Persian leopard population in the Middle East and particularly in Caucasus, has attracted attention of researchers and conservationists to the status of this subspecies in the region.

Consequently various countries in the Persian leopard range in the Caucasus have launched an attempt to address the status of leopards in the area. However, the major population of the Persian leopards are known to inhabit in Iran. As a result, leopard status in Iran and particularly in North-west of the country plays an important role in survival of the Persian leopards in the region.

Iran’s Persian leopard project

The three bordering provinces of West Azerbaijan, Ardebil and East Azerbaijan that provide common habitats and corridors between Iran and the neighbouring countries in Caucasus; of these East Azerbaijan province has the longest border line and the most common leopard potential habitats with the two neighbouring countries of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Since April 2012, Department of Environment of Iran together with the East Azarbaijan provincial DoE office and Asian Leopard Specialist Society, embarked on a project to measure the Persian leopard population, potential habitats and corridors in the region, prey status and active threats affecting leopard survival and habitats’ connectivity in the region.

The first phase of the project has been completed recently and resulted in first-hand information on potential leopard habitats and corridors among them as well as active threats in and around critical habitats.

Last chances to keep leopard areas in North-western Iran connected:

East Azarbaijan province, covering an area of 45663 Km² in North-western Iran, was divided to four study zones for field data collection and further analysis.

This study estimates that 27% of the studied region in North-western Iran covering 37 main and distinct habitats could be considered as potential leopard areas. The largest potential habitats with high degree of suitability are mainly located in north of the province bordering with neighbouring countries of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

At the next level, habitats in south east of the province bordering with Ardebil and Zanjan provinces of Iran are the largest leopard potential habitats with most corridors and connections available among them. However, habitats in southern and south western parts of the province are more scattered and isolated. Areas among these habitats are disturbed by various human activities such as the cultivation lands and agriculture, road networks and populated areas.

It is worth mentioning that collaborative research and conservation efforts in countries of the region together with financial and technical contribution of international organizations are essential to ensure the Persian leopard habitat connectivity in transboundary areas.

Next step of the project:

We are in the early stage of the second phase of the Persian leopard project in the borderline habitats in Caucasus ecoregion. In this phase we plan to conduct more detail studies including systematic camera trappings to address population estimates and occupancy status assessments of the leopards and their prey in each identified habitat. We have already purchased equipment required to conduct telemetry studies during the current phase of the project.

The study was conducted by Arezoo Sanei, Executive Director at Asian Leopard Specialist Society, Tehran, Iran; Mohamad Reza Masoud, Senior Wildlife Expert at Department of Environment, East-Azarbaijan Provincial Office; and Hossein Mohammadi General Director, Biodiversity and Wildlife Bureau, Department of the Environment, Tehran, Iran.